per Heathline – “One of the biggest tools we have to fight health conditions is the power of human connection. That’s why health awareness months, weeks, and days are so important: They rally us together to spread awareness and show support.”
How are you spreading awareness and showing support this month? Let me know!
I have a collection of “oops” emails that I keep in a folder in my inbox. I would like to share some with you. “Oops – Corrected Date/Time Inside: Best Practices for Content Marketing Webinars” is one. I received it from Chief Marketer, a content marketing company in Connecticut. “We forgot something…” from Magazines.com a company that, believe it or not, sells magazines. “Oops! There’s been a slight mistake” from Thrifty Car Rental. “Oops!” from IKEA. “Oops! 5-Star Cupcakes We Couldn’t Wait to Share” from Betty Crocker. There a lot more, most with some type of “oops” or “apologies” in the subject line.
Embarrassing … or smart? I do not know what you think, but I think that IKEA, Thrifty Car Rental and Betty Crocker have pretty sophisticated marketing departments, staff, teams and/or consultants. Of course, the people who work there are just that, people, and we all know that humans make mistakes. What if I told you that not all of those “oops” emails were mistakes – would you be surprised?
Email recipients click on these emails because they are either curious or genuinely interested in figuring out whether the sender’s mistake is going to have an effect on them.
I think it is pretty obvious that a “Best New Cupcake Recipes” email might not appeal to everyone but that an “Oops! We left out a key ingredient” might garner a higher open rate. Either you opened it the first time and are curious what you might have missed the first time, or you saw it, ignored it and are now curious about the mistake Betty made.
I hope you do not think that I am encouraging you to send out digital correspondence with mistakes on purpose. I most certainly am not. I hope you do not think that I am advising you to send out these emails if you made a stupid mistake that a reasonable person can clearly see was a mistake. Take the date for example.
One of my pet peeves about email newsletter programs is that even though they love to have a date section, one which often stands alone, the section does not update automatically. It seems to me that should be an easy programming fix. Even Microsoft Word knows how to fill in the current date once you start typing. Anyway, my point is that sending out an email newsletter with a November date in the middle of March is CLEARLY a mistake. Especially if everything else in the email is timely. If that happens, you do not waste an “oops.” You just move on. Address it if you want to in the next issue but do not waste people’s time sending them an email over something like an incorrect header date or a simple spelling error.
What does constitute a reason for sending an “oops” email?
Something that has the potential to have a negative impact on the recipient:
Broken link – this is a big deal. Day or date of an event mistake – definitely send one. Venue mistake – of course. Incorrect directions – absolutely. Sent the email to the wrong list – HURRY! So you made a legitimate, oops-worthy mistake. Do not fret. The silver lining is that your apology email will probably outperform your original email.
Just do not be that person that cried “Oops!”
Got a good “Oops” email I can add to my inbox, I mean, filing system? Send it to me!
March 14th is Pi Day. Maybe you knew that or maybe you did not. I’m not sure how you could avoid knowing it. It’s. Such. A. Thing. Now. I’m getting emails and more emails (I subscribe to a lot of email newsletters, if you can believe it, winky face) about the upcoming 3/14/21 Pi Day. I do not remember Pi Day being a “thing” when I was growing up but I sure do know it’s a thing now.
A couple years I go or as we say now, “pre-pandemic” I got up early just to make sure I got to the Riverhead Farmer’s Market before they ran out of pie. (How could they not? This was Pi Day after all!) The vendors at this farmer’s market are pretty savvy with their marketing. I am not being facetious. They glom onto whatever holiday and/or celebration day that occurs and use that in their on-site marketing. The market itself has an active Facebook page and its #1 goal is to get people to come down to the market on Saturday. So, armed with the local dairy’s empty glass milk bottles from the previous week’s market, I headed excitedly to the market.
Right inside the door was the baker’s stand. No pie was there. What…?????????
“Oh, I did not even know it was Pi Day,” she said. “I guess I should have brought some pies.” (You think?!) Over to the other bakery stall. There was still no pie. Seriously? Do bakers not have a calendar? How do you not even have a pie available for sale on Pi Day? Passed the bread guy who conveniently sells what I would have called for the day pizza “pies.” Did he? No. Quickly over to the Greek Restaurant guy who always has people standing in line for his spanakopita for a good reason. It is unbelievably delicious. It is yummy spinach pie. Is he in on the whole pi/pie thing? Nope. Took the empty milk bottles back to the dairy booth. What goes better with pie than anything else? Milk. This milk is so good that we have started bringing milk to parties instead of wine because weeks later people are still talking about the milk and I do not remember a single time ever when people were talking for weeks about a particular bottle of wine. Does the dairy lady have any signage addressing the “got pie, get milk” or anything to that effect? No.
Awareness is key
MAJOR marketing FAIL at the Farmer’s Market for Pi Day. Off to the fish market down the road where we bought a lovely piece of salmon and….a clam pie. I told the girl at the counter, “You know it is Pi Day, right?” Of course she did not but I was pretty happy that I had finally gotten a pie for Pi Day even though I consider it a huge disappointment from a marketing standpoint.
Your turn. What days, celebrations or “things” are you missing out on? I saw on Facebook recently that it was National Sibling Day. I know a couple O&P practices that are owned by siblings. You know who you are. This is a great opportunity to get a little extra publicity, especially when in this day and age you do not even need a newspaper story to have something go viral. So, get busy researching “Pi Day-esque” things and see how you can use that to your marketing advantage this year!
Welcome 2021! 2020 was an unhappy year. World turmoil and weather catastrophes and COVID-19…death, destruction, and despair. It’s been a tough time. I think the nice thing about February is that it brings us Valentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to give all your “fans” some virtual love.
Who should you “hug”?
Now is the perfect time to spend some quality time with data and analytics — time to decide how you want to thank all your stakeholders for being there for you this past year. Messages of thanks are always appreciated, but who do you usually thank?
Back in the day, we made sure our referral sources were acknowledged and felt appreciated. That was a different time when referral sources were actually sources of referrals and not constrained by insurance directives, contracts, networks or whatever else gets in the way of a direct referral. Yes, referral sources still exist and you should make sure you send them some love.
Staff, patients and vendors
You cannot do what you do every day if you do not have the support of your staff. Make sure they know that. I am a big fan of the “celebrate us” day off of work. Even if you cannot manage to close the whole office for a day, why not have a barbecue, catered lunch or a post-work event specifically designed to thank your coworkers?
Thank your patients. Let’s be real. If you are in patient care, the only reason you have a job is because there are patients who need care. We get caught up in the drama of providing services to others and the toll the bureaucracy and battle for reimbursement can take on our spirit. It can be easy to forget that as difficult as our days might be, we are beholden to our patients.
Patient appreciation days are fun. Who does not want to be appreciated? Everyone wants to be appreciated! If the thought of putting together a socially-distanced, masked, outdoor event is too much, why not send cards — actual cards that are signed by everyone in the office? You can always send a “Happy Valentine’s Day” card since everyone is eligible to receive a Valentine’s Day card and you do not have to worry about offending anyone or leaving out someone.
Thank your vendors, manufacturers, suppliers and sales reps. If you have never been on the selling end of O&P and you think you get beat up by insurance companies and payers all day long, then you have never ridden with, or been, a sales rep.
I have been involved in O&P since 1987. I can tell you with certainty that we have some of the nicest, most helpful sales professionals around. While you may expect them to thank you for your business, how about you tell them how much you appreciate their support, too?
February and Valentine’s Day always provide a great opportunity to start the year off right and show some appreciation. What are you going to do say thanks? Let me know!
Happy New Year! What are you most looking forward to – marketing-wise for 2021?
It’s been a TOUGH year but the beginning of a new year is always a good time to reflect on the results of last year’s marketing plan and to consider what changes you’re going to want to implement for 2021.
I’m willing to bet that your 2020 marketing plan took a back seat to some of your other business-related plans. Not to worry. It’s a brand new year, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel and we can take what we learned last year and start making a new plan.
The keys are flexibility, adaptability, trend-spotting, and commitment – and a map. If we’re going to get where we want to go then we need a map.
Begin with the end
Oftentimes when it comes to a marketing plan some people don’t start with the final destination, where they want to be by December, in mind. Instead they start heading off “down the road” – destination to be determined.
I spent the weekend of March 7-8, 2020, at the Travel & Adventure Show in Washington, D.C. It is a convention for people who, obviously, like to travel but it also includes sessions for people who like learning about how miles and points can enhance their travel experience. It was perfect timing because all my travel and loyalty program calculators had reset to zero at the end of 2019 (just the calculators, not the accumulated points or miles). This is important because in order for me to achieve my travel-related goals for 2020 and beyond, I needed to know by the end of the year how to structure my travel plans.
Well, 2020 was a bust as far as business or leisure travel so whatever miles and points plan I had originally made based on traveling 10 out of 12 months a year was pretty much useless. (Same thing could be said for the face to face education-based marketing and in-person meeting & event marketing plans!)
If my original goal was to acquire a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass in 2020 so that I could bring a companion along for free in 2020 and 2021, then I would have needed to determine what strategy I would use to acquire the 110,000 Rapid Rewards points I needed to receive the pass. The final destination – 110,000 points. I could keep the same goal but I’d really need to re-think my strategy since it would’ve been really difficult to accumulate 110,000 without stepping foot on a plane, renting a car or staying in hotels or having a reason to use my Southwest Visa card. Probably wouldn’t have been impossible but, it made sense in March to take that “destination” off the map for 2020.
Know your starting point
A lot of things in the travel industry have changed since last March. Airlines have been hit hard and they’ve adapted and pivoted so what seemed like a very difficult destination last March might not be so difficult this year. You might think that there is only one route to get there – not true. Route 1 equals flying. Route 2 equals a mixture of flying and buying things through the Southwest Airlines online shopping portal. Route 3 equals getting a Southwest credit card that will give me 50,000 points after I spend a certain amount in a certain time frame, plus flying, plus shopping. Those are just three examples but there are a plethora of routes. Some that will take me all year to get there. Some that will take me a matter of months. Some that will be cost prohibitive and some that will be relatively inexpensive. The two things that I know for sure are where I am right now and where I want to go.
Know your route options
For example, you know that you have 27 newsletter subscribers as of today but that you want 2,499 subscribers by the end of the year which route are you going to take? Just like getting the Companion Pass, there are a lot of different routes with different time frames and different cost.
In our newsletter subscriber example, we have a clear goal of acquiring 2,472 new subscribers. We want to make sure that all of our new subscribers are people who are relevant to the success of our business and not just route “detours” for the sake of pumping up the numbers.
How can you get there? Which routes?
Sign up form on your website (of course!)
Sign up form on your business facebook page
Incentives in your office waiting room or fitting rooms for signing up
Those are just a couple “routes” for you to take.
Where do you want to go? How do you want to get there? We’ll talk more about tools and budgets in the next post….